20211120-LOC-Cheshire Med

Due to an increase in COVID-19 patients at Cheshire Medical Center, the Keene hospital announced Friday it is postponing some elective procedures.

This includes any surgeries that require inpatient admission, according to a news release.

Any emergency or same-day surgeries that don’t require a hospital stay will continue.

In recent weeks, Cheshire Medical Center has had a daily average of 11 to 14 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 there, according to hospital spokeswoman Heather Atwell. She said this represents the highest daily average since the pandemic started.

“Based on current numbers and predictive modeling trends, the current challenges may worsen,” the release says. “All hospitals in New Hampshire and New England are experiencing these same capacity challenges in inpatient volumes and staffing.”

The Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health affiliate has postponed these procedures during prior surges of the viral disease, most recently in January. The hospital will evaluate this decision daily, the release notes.

In the week ending Thursday, the seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases in New Hampshire reached an all-time high of 880, according to data from the state health department. The second highest to date was in December 2020, when New Hampshire was averaging 868 new cases per day.

Hospitalizations are also spiking, with 340 COVID-19 patients in New Hampshire hospitals as of Friday, according to the N.H. Hospital Association.

Given the increase in COVID-19 cases across the state, Cheshire Medical is continuing to urge people to get vaccinated, in addition to mask-wearing, hand-washing and staying home when sick.

Olivia Belanger can be reached at 352-1234, extension 1439, or obelanger@keenesentinel.com. Follow her on Twitter @OBelangerKS.